Browse/search for people

Professor Harry Mellor

Professor Harry Mellor

Professor Harry Mellor
B.Sc.(Edin.), Ph.D.(Bristol)

Professor of Biochemistry

Area of research

Endothelial cell dynamics in angiogenesis

Office C49
Biomedical Sciences Building,
University Walk, Clifton BS8 1TD
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 2174


The cytoskeleton forms a dynamic framework inside cells, supporting their shape and their movement.  My lab focusses on the cytoskeleton of endothelial cells, the cell that line blood vessels.  In healthy blood vessels, the endothelial cells control the passage of oxygen and nutrients from the blood to the tissue below, and return waste products in the opposite direction.  Their cytoskeleton regulates this barrier function, and also controls the shape of the cells to allow blood to flow smoothly over the surface.  Dysregulation of the cytoskeleton leads to disruption of the normal barrier and pathological flow.

When tissues become deprived of oxygen, as in heart disease or stroke, the body can activate endothelial cells in existing blood vessels, causing them to grow out towards the diseased area and form new blood vessels.  This process is called angiogenesis.  These new blood vessels improve perfusion of the damaged tissue and promote healing and recovery.

Angiogenesis is also switched on in cancer.  Tumour cells produce growth factors that mimic the normal angiogenic signal and cause the body to initiate tumour angiogenesis, supplying the cancer cells with oxygen and nutrients.  While the normal function of angiogenesis is to promote healing, this tumour angiogenesis promotes the growth and spread of cancer.

Central to all of these functions of endothelial cells is dynamic regulation of the endothelial cytoskeleton.  This controls the normal shape of endothelial cell in resting blood vessels, but also underpins the shape changes and cell movement required for angiogenesis.  The focus of my lab is the discovery of regulators of the endothelial cytoskeleton.  We use a combination of proteomic and genetic strategies to identify novel cytoskeleton regulators and then use detailed assays of endothelial cell function and of angiogenesis to understand how they contribute to these processes.  The goal of our work is to understand this complex biological process and through this to identify new targets for therapeutic control of endothelial function in ischemic disease and in cancer.


  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, University of Edinburgh (1988)
  • PhD Biochemistry, University of Bristol, School of Biochemistry, (1992)
  • Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International Personal Fellowship, Penn State University (1993-1995)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute (1995-1998)
  • Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship, University of Bristol (1998-2003)
  • Welcome Trust University Award, University of Bristol (2003-2008)
  • Reader in Biochemistry, University of Bristol (2005-2010)
  • Professor of Biochemistry, University of Bristol (2010-present)
  • Graduate Dean for Life Sciences (2018 - present)


Biological Chemistry
Cellular Processes
Cell Biology of Development and Disease
Systems case 7 - Endocrine
Extended research project
Research and Communication Skills
Advanced Options in Biochemistry
Foundations in Biomedical Sciences
Health Sciences: Biochemistry - Bristol Dental School
Animal Health Science Foundation


  • Endothelial cell shape and movement
  • Endothelial cell receptor signalling and trafficking



School of Biochemistry

Other sites

School of Biochemistry staff

Selected publications

Read more >

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Edit this profile If you are Professor Harry Mellor, you can edit this page. Login required.

PDF versionDownload PDF